Boeing issues 737 Operations Manual Bulletin after Lion Air accident

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 7, 2018, © Leeham News.: Boeing issued a message to the operators of 737 MAX aircraft yesterday to remind their pilots of the procedures if an unreliable Angle Of Attack (AOA) information is suspected while flying.

Below we describe what these procedures are and why Boeing is reminding its customers about what to do when suspecting a false AOA reading.

Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8. Source: Wikipedia.

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Airbus A330-800 first flight

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 6, 2018, © Leeham News in Toulouse. The Airbus A330-800, the smaller of the A330neo variants, took off for its first flight in Toulouse today. It’s the fourth member of the A330neo flight test campaign and it will add another 350 Flight Hours to the 1,400 hours flown with the A330-900.

Airbus used the occasion to make a review of the A330neo program.

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Accounting Standards Call Out Airplane Orders with Questionable Credit

By Dan Catchpole


Nov. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: Like countless other businesses, Boeing this year adopted new accounting standards, known by the acronym ASC 606. The new rules did not significantly affect the company’s balance sheet. However, it did result in some noticeable changes to its orders and deliveries page.

Boeing added a line—dubbed ASC 606 Adjustment—to its total order table. It also moved some orders around within the order book, shifting them from the operators to Boeing Capital Corp., the aerospace giant’s financing arm.

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737-based Wedgetail to be assembled in UK, Defence official says

Update, Nov. 6: Boeing said the Wedgetail will be assembled in Renton, as it has in the past. Discussions are underway with the UK to perform final modifications there (similar to how KC-46A tankers move from final assembly to the Everett Modification Center for installation of military equipment). However, no agreement has been reached yet.

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Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: A UK defense publication reported late today (US time) that Boeing agreed to final assembly of the 737-based Wedgetail radar and surveillance airplane in the UK.

This marks the first time a 7-Series commercial-based airplane will be assembled outside the US.

Boeing 737-based Wedgetail. Boeing photo.

The 737 finishing center in China, which opens this year, installs interiors and paints the airplane of finished 737s.

If the report is confirmed by Boeing, this marks a huge strategic and psychological step in how Boeing Commercial Airplanes approaches final assembly in the future.

  • Boeing has considered locating 737 line overseas in the past, but always rejected it.
  • Union knowledge, reaction, unknown at this writing.
  • Major implications for Boeing NMA (797).

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WOW-Icelandair combo may help Airbus, hurt Boeing in A321LR/XLR-NMA campaigns

Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: The announcement that Icelandair will acquire competing low cost airline WOW Air seemed the inevitable conclusion to the financially-strapped WOW, which aggressively expanded against the entrenched incumbent.

The combined carriers may help Airbus and hurt Boeing in current campaigns to sell the A321LR/XLR and NMA to Icelandair.

The combined carriers will serve 63 cities from their home base in Iceland. Icelandair serves 46 cities. WOW serves 40 and recently announced expansion to its 41st, Vancouver.

There will be 19 common cities and routes (see Chart). Read more

Boeing can’t build 737s fast enough to meet demand

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Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: With a backlog of more than 4,700 737 MAXes and pressure to increase the production rate beyond 57/mo, an analysis of the backlog shows why Boeing has plenty of room left to sell more 737s and push rates to 63 or even 70/mo.

Current 737 operators have only placed MAX orders to replace 56.5% of the airplanes in service. This compares with 77% of the A320 family ratio.

The resulting 3,430 airplanes Boeing potentially can sell, when divided equally between 2020 through 2029, comes to 381 airplanes per year. Even at increased production rates to 63/mo in 2020 and 70/mo in 2021, Boeing would not be able to fulfill these orders.

There wouldn’t be surplus production slots until 2024 at this evenly distributed assumption. Realistically, deliveries have to concentrate between 2023 and 2029.

  • Boeing can’t build 737s fast enough to fulfill the replacement requirement, let alone handle industry growth demand.
  • 737 replacement launch expected once NMA enters service.

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Pontifications: Pilots train for instrumentation mismatches

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: It was a week ago that Lion Air JT 610 crashed into the sea, just 13 minutes after takeoff.

The crash was the first involving the Boeing 737 MAX (in this case, the -8 model). The airplane was virtually new, having been delivered to the airline in August. Lion Air was not new to the 737, having flown the NG models for years.

Because the airplane crashed into the sea, recovery of the black boxes was not quick. The flight data recorder was recovered several days later but the cockpit voice recorder is still missing. The FDR data apparently has not yet been downloaded for a preliminary read. At least nothing has been made public, if it has. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 13

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 2, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In last week’s Corner we looked deeper into the fundamentals of the Mach 1.4 engine of Aerion’s AS2 SST, the GE Affinity.

Now we start looking at engines for a faster SST, up to the Mach 2.2 of the Boom Supersonic project.

Figure 1. The GE Affinity medium bypass Turbofan for Aerion AS2. Source: GE.

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How useful is an NMA, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

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November 1, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we looked at how a Boeing NMA would function as a medium range airliner in the Asia-Pacific.

We now continue with flying the two aircraft variants from Middle East locations, exploring how large an area in Asia, Europe and Africa the aircraft would cover.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.


  • The profile of an NMA fits well in a Middle East Carrier’s fleet. Dependent on location it covers all of Europe and most of Africa and Asia.
  • As the NMA is a lesser aircraft than the present long-range aircraft used on the routes it would have impressive economics for this type of operation.

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Airbus fights delivery challenges on several fronts

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 31, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus announced 3Q 2018 results today. The company is wrestling with delivery problems for several of its aircraft programs. Its inventory of finished aircraft which can’t be delivered has increased by €5bn as a result.

On the positive side is a smooth running A350 program and that the A220 program, which is consolidated into Airbus for the first time, seems void of unpleasant surprises.

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